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Look Back in Bemusement: The New American Cinema, 1965–1970


This essay is a revisionist consideration of the New American Cinema from 1965 to 1970, during which time sociopolitical, economic, and cultural changes in the United States had inevitably changed the tone of its film industry–at least among a college-bred generation of directors. Instead of making the sheer entertainments of the palmy Hollywood days, these auteurs made, not serious artworks of idiosynchratic imagination and aesthetic daring like their counterparts in France, but superficially realistic if technologically accomplished movies on which 'meaning' was either grossly impasted or clung to only as long as convenient. 'Bonnie and Clyde', 'Easy Rider',' and 'The Graduate' may serve as salient examples of this trend.